Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Let me get a piece of business out of the way first: Roadrunner you owe me 50 cents.

Ok, my wishes? It's hard for me to reflect on those things I'd wished I'd done without feeling just a little bit disappointed in myself. This exercise just reminds me of the goals that I failed at, or those I let slip by without even trying. For me, it's less "zen" and more looking-at-my-life-flash-before-my-eyes and not liking what I see. But hey, RR it's your birthday week, and if a list of wishes is what you want - my impending depression notwithstanding - a list is what you'll get.

1) I wish I'd taken my French professors advice and continued on to intermediate French. At the time, I was looking at what it would take to finish school in 4 years, not what would enrich my life or impact my career. This is a major sticking point for me since my dad was a foreign language teacher. He would be so disappointed.

2) I wish I'd planned better for the future. When I left for Germany, I had a barebones plan, and no way of executing what little I did have. Now career-wise I'm scrambling to make up for the last 3 years.

3) I wish I had continued playing the piano and clarinet. It's been so long, now I have to be re-taught. It's a shame to squander a gift like that.

4) I wish that every now and then, I could just let it go, whatever the "it" of the moment may be. If something annoys me, I obsess about it. And my obsession with that thing annoys me even more, which leads to more obsessing and - yeah, it's a never-ending loop of obsession and annoyance in my head.

5) I wish I had the nerve to wear a huge afro and dye it red. No major revelations about this one, I just think it would look really cool. And so would a tattoo on the back of my neck, but that's a different story.

I could go on and on, but won't.

And I'll try really hard not to obsess over this list of wishes after I hit publish.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Back in the Day

High school was simpler, easy.

Those days of carefree living. Only worrying about grades and whether he liked us or not. Not knowing that really WAS the best time our lives, just like our parents said. No wine, no vodka to clear our minds, we didn't need it. No bills, no responsibilities, no war. I miss those days now. And I'm tired.Tired of all those things that we could have never imagined would have happened when we were in high school. Buying a new outfit. Going to the game. Hanging out with our friends, not a care in the world. And as much as I thought then that I didn't have a real childhood, I realize now that I did.

And now it's too late to appreciate it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Does it make me crazy that ...

**I'm tired of hearing about the TB guy? He's OK, the people on the plane are OK, Now give him some antibiotics and a shot of penicillin and let's move on.

**It annoys me to see all these slow a$$ police "chases" on the news? Why you gotta interrupt something I might actually be interested in to show me another shot of the same person driving the same car on the same road? Just let me know when you catch 'em.

**I'm a little bit jealous of the Schweinfurt HeShe's swagger? Seriously, someone who can convince countless soldiers (not just the closeted ones) to believe he's a woman got some secrets I want to know.

**I don't care to see the "distinguished visitor" the PAO claims is coming to Schweinfurt today. If it's not Barack Obama, Common or Woodstock, why do I need to hear what he (or she) has to say in person when I can read about it later?

**As a career counselor, I'm getting paid to help soldiers with their career path when I'm still trying to solidify a career future my d#$m self?

**I think adults obsessed with the Harry Potter books and movies are kind of weird? I'm not saying they shouldn't read them. I'm just asking if it's necessary to talk about it. And post Harry Potter pictures your myspace page. And take off work early so you can go see the movie.
**My shoe just broke and I'm trying to decide whether it's acceptable to attempt fix it with mixture of staples, super glue and thread instead of throwing them away?
**I think colored tazers are stupid? Since when did personal safety devices become an accessory? And the sad part is, someone will say, wow I'll finally break down and get one. Not because I've been mugged 3 times, but because it matches my pink Razr. Although I can't say for certain I wouldn't carry a Beretta 92 SB with hot pink side panels.
What gets on YOUR nerves?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It's So Hard to Say Goodbye

They say that it's better to have loved and lost to have never loved at all. They also say that if you love something, let it go.
I'm not sure who "they" are exactly, but I'm pretty certain they don't know what the hell they're talking about.

I'm not ready to let go. "It's time," my friends say, but I know better. Every week I find myself pushing him just a little further. At almost 10 years old, I know I'm lucky for the times we HAVE had. The part that makes it most hard is that he doesn't LOOK old. But I can't deny the fact that we probably only have a few months together. But still, I can't fathom the thought of having only rapidly-fading memories of our ups and downs, mishaps and adventures to look back upon. Just being near him evokes images years past. Trips to the mailbox, impromptu trips to faraway cities for alleged home-invasion purposes, exploring the German landscape as we narrowly skirt disaster. Sigh. I feel like it's too soon. But after yesterday, I know that time isn't on my side, and death is imminent.

It's time to put the Protege to rest. It's time to say goodbye to my first car.

I thought I knew all the tricks of the trade, but despite all my efforts, I fear the end is near. In anticipation, Woodstock and I got a new car. An SUV, something a little snazzy, but a lot practical as we consider expanding our family (Don't ask. That's another post altogether). But still I drove the the Protege. "You're still driving that car?" friends ask. "I can't believe you have a new car," others remarked. And yet, I persisted. Why not drive it, I thought. It was 3/4 full of gas, and those who know me know that one of my favorite quotes is, "And you know gas high." I also thought I'd successfully planned in the event the car did break down. I would be driving down some main street (in my mind, it's always Franz-Schubert-Strasse, the street the MP station is on) and the car would turn off, allowing me to glide gracefully onto the little car-sized opening in the sidewalk. Besides, like I said, I'd gotten used to the Protege's little quirks, and thought I'd found ways to work around them all.

First was the burning smell, which I realized only happened when I used the air conditioner. Easy enough - keep the windows open. Then came the periods, like 2 weeks ago, where the car's idling would go so low it would turn off. Four times. On the way to work. But ah ha! I don't owe a year's salary in student loans (not my salary of course) to not be able to figure that one out. The car only turned off when it was idling in neutral. Again, problem solved. Simply downshift quickly and I'd make it to work with maybe only one turn-off. Anyway, the car starts back up pretty fast, so that's no big deal right?

But today - today I fear is the end of a long line of problems that may finally cause me to retire the car. As I was leaving the PX, the car made a squealing sound. Now, I'm used to that. I needed a belt replaced last year and it squealed all the time. Usually at 5 a.m. Anyway, I digress. It was a little embarrassing, but I ignored the little boy holding his ears (I'm sure it wasn't THAT loud) and headed home. After the squealing stopped, I breathed a sigh of relief. Good to go. I thought there was a smell - but I attributed it to the construction going on. That's when it happened. I heard a pop. And I couldn't turn the steering wheel. I thought to back up and park, but I was stuck between a myriad of poles, arranged so that a terrorist - or someone who stole a TV from the PX - couldn't leave quickly. There was no way I'd be able to manuever the car backward.

I soon realized the popping sound I heard was the power steering pump. I made it home and parked, with some difficulty, before switching cars for church.

I know it's just a car, but remember, I've had the car since I was but a lowly freshman. It got me through life in four cities and 2 countries. When Woodstock and I first started dating, the car cemented our relationship when the Eclipse was out of commission. It's been a place for private meetings, pre parties, post parties and late-night trysts (with Woodstock of course). This car knows more about me than my best friends, and I'm asked to simply throw it away. Or in my case pay $45 to let the Army "throw it away," which means they'll reap my poor car's parts and sell them for profit.

Now that I've explained myself, perhaps it's a little more understandable why I feel the way I feel about getting rid of my car. But at the same time, I realize I do have a problem. As I retold the story of the power steering pump, a thought came to mind.

I can still DRIVE the car - I just can't pull into any tight parking spots.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Beauty is Her Name

I must admit that I hesitated writing this, because I didn't want it to come across as a plea for help - a type of "woe is me" post used to garner compliments. But here goes anyway.

Since I was a child, I've been viewed as smart (though you wouldn't know it to look at me now). As I got older, people came to view me as silly or goofy. And as I got even older, caustic and stuck up have been added to the mix - though I don't get the stuck-up part, the "why" of which may become clearer later. Of all the things I have been considered or viewed as, the most surprising to me is “beautiful” or “stylish.” Don’t get me wrong, I’d been called beautiful before, but mostly from people like my mother, grandmother, great aunts, and now Jamil, all of whom have a blood or legal obligation to do so.

So to hear myself mentioned in such a way (Roadrunner’s reference to my “style” comes to mind) I still find myself questioning it. Don’t misunderstand; I don’t think I’m ugly. But my entire life, my descriptions have mostly consisted of various types of cute (cute, kinda cute) and maybe even sexy, which I attribute solely to the boob factor. But beautiful? Nah. Which is why I found it so surprising – and totally creepy – when the old, white guy followed me around Wal-Mart smiling, eventually confronting me in the CD section:
“You’re so beautiful. But you’re married,” he croaked (that’s funny cause it’s a play on words) as if he had a real chance before he spotted my wedding ring.

Woodstock’s reaction was more mundane: “Don’t you know you’re beautiful?”
I gave the kind of stock answer that I felt he was looking for, but deep down inside a voice echoed back, “Of course not.”

This leads me to the style part of it. I’ve NEVER been considered stylish. Eccentric maybe, presentable even, but not stylish. In my clique of friends, I was definitely not known for my fashion & style acumen. I’d often get a disapproving glance – or if it was complete gaffe – a grunt from my friend K, who was an expert at all things fashion. I’ve been chastised for an abundance of transgressions, from not curling my eyelashes (“You’re a GIRL! Your lashes should look fun and flirty) to having my keys in the front pocket of my jeans (“What IS that? Just hold it.) I once put on what I considered a very cool outfit (sadly chosen, I must admit, in preparation for seeing her) and K gave me a quick once over. “Interesting,” she said in that tone that seemed to indicate that the outfit was anything BUT interesting.

My other friend, The Captain, was the only one of us able to pull the kind of cool-and-trendy-without-trying-to-be look that you see amongst the movie star set. You’ve seen them. K is the one with the leopard print shirt and red belt (before it was cool to wear leopard and red) and The Captain is the one with the Free Angela Davis T-shirt and relaxed jeans that make her look like a socialite that’s trying to blend in with the common folk and failing miserably. They’re BOTH the types that make guys ask “Who’s your friend?”

I’m the friend. The one who’s WITH them.

So now, I’m in Germany, and all of a sudden I’m stylish. People are coming to me for fashion advice. Asking me where I got my shoes, or shirt or whatever, and honestly it confuses me. I feel like a phony. When someone compliments me on my looks I want to say, well you should see my friends. Or if a friend mentions my keen fashion sense, I want to throw out, “I know some folks who’d disagree with you.”

But I don’t say anything but thanks, and hope my eyes don’t betray me.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Blame it on the Rain

I walked out of church last week uplifted. Pastor preached about "rejoicing evermore." How we must continue to rejoice,even when things look dim. I nodded my head in agreement with his words, had that knowing smile because I've been there. Been in a place of darkness and continued to praise him. And in a rare display of social interaction clearly brought on by the Word (I've been flying WAY below the radar as of late) I even hung out with some of my church sistahs eating ice cream and chatting. I wasn't even all that annoyed when the after-church fellowship caused me to miss Ocean's 13. I went to sleep content, thinking about those times I persevered when it looked like things wouldn't go my way and turned out for the best.

And then I woke up.

And that's when the s#$%t hit the fan, so to speak. EVERYTHING - from the slow Farschule car to the phone ringing during my marathon Smallville watching unbraiding session - got on my nerves. The rest of the week was a series over ever-worsening mishaps. Most of them un-noteworthy, but every single incident was like bamboo shoot being stuck deeper and deeper under my fingernails. The way I worked my way through 30 phone numbers, calling soldier after soldier trying to get them to come to our next workshop as my co-worker sat idly by, sending e-mails and catching up on her celebrity gossip.

Or what about Yahoo messenger's mysterious glitch that had me restarting the program just so I could get messages. Speaking of computer problems, I had a fit when blogger was acting the fool and I couldn't see any new posts. Granted, I was blogging on the job, but dang, that's no reason to fool with my only means of staying awake during our slow-for-now days.

The annoyance level was racketed up a notch on the 4th at the Girl Scout event that I showed up an hour early for and sat around with nothing to do. I ended up missing the whole thing because I was helping out behind the scenes - something that wouldn't be necessary if it had been properly planned.

I admit some of it is of my own doing. Tearing through the apartment, unable to find anything and cursing the papers strewn about the coffee table, covering up every important thing i would need this week.

And today? Oh, don't even get me started on today. I was feeling kind of lazy, but STILL I persevered to make it to the car dealership to have a light reset. I was feeling good on the way out of the dealership - feeling like I'd finally accomplished something this week. But as soon as the tire hit the Autobahn, the light came back on. THEN I ran into a stau on the way back. Too bad I didn't hit the stau when a stray eyelash flew into my eye, causing a burning that blurred my vision and almost caused me to swerve. Thank goodness I was able to pull over at one of those Park 'n Rides.

When I got home, I attempted to ease the pain of what I assume was an aftershock of the killer eyelash by taking out my contacts. Yeah - didn't happen. I got one out, and tried unsuccessfully to get the other one out to no avail. So all I could do is put the other one back in and be mad. Which I most certainly am.

I don't know if it's the rain, the unseasonble cold snap, or whether I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed Monday. What I DO know is that I'm going to have a glass of wine and go to sleep and try to put it all behind me. But if you see me this weekend looking like I got pink eye in ONE eye - stay back, because no matter what you say, you're apt to get on my nerves.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


So, I'm finally doing it. After obsessing, postponing and praying, I'm finally trying to do something to keep my journalism experience relevant despite my lack of employment in the field. I submitted my resume to an on-line magazine last month and have just now (I KNOW!) actually done something about it. I've started writing an article for them, and will query them by this end of this week. Although I know a query doesn't mean they'll accept my article, it's a start. And I've been putting that off for too long. Even though I'm working now, not writing is killing me as far as my chances for working in journalism in the future. I'm sure prospective employers will wonder (and rightfully so) why I haven't written anything or at least volunteered to write for the community paper. And those are valid questions that I can't explain without discussing my extreme bouts of self-pity and - gasp! - laziness. But with our departure date getting closer (we leave next February), I've got to get on the ball. Eight months seems like a long time, but it's not very much time for me to get some more recent writing clips. Thus, my attempt to break into this on-line freelance market. I won't say what site I'm going to query, but it's my style and I think it's the type of forum I will be able to work well with. The pay is practically non-existent, but that's not the point. It's a chance for me to start doing something that I love. Not that I don't enjoy dealing with temperamental captains who think they know it all and underhanded specialists who try to get me to do their work for them. That's what helps pay the bills. The writing? That will be just for me.